The Strategies of the Treuhandanstalt/Federal Institute for Special Tasks Arising from Unification, with Regard to the Privatization of the Chemical Industry and Petroleum Industry, 1990–2000

Employees (IfZ):  Dr. Rainer Karlsch

This project focuses on the individual phases of the process of transformation in the chemical and petroleum industries, which began in 1989/90 and continued on through the end of the 1990s. The first information provided by the newly privatized successors to state-run companies in early summer 1990 were rather sobering when it came to the self-assessment of their competitiveness. West German chemical companies were even less optimistic in their evaluations, however, and did not believe the major East German chemical sites had much of a chance of surviving at all in the market economy. The Treuhandanstalt was faced with the task of privatizing as many companies as possible en bloc and as rapidly as possible. A change of strategy would follow Chancellor Kohl’s promise on May 10, 1991 that the companies of the Middle German Chemical Triangle would survive: The Chemical Board of the Treuhandanstalt commissioned the development of new concepts, now turning to an active policy of restructuring. The project will focus here on how the companies’ past problems were dealt with and what results were achieved by the implementation of the “Chemical Park” concept. The privatization process in other areas of the chemical industry predominated by medium-sized companies also needs to be analyzed. This includes pharmaceutical companies, tire manufacturers, and cosmetics and detergent producers. Lastly, the study will look at the privatization results achieved in relation to the high financial costs needed to transform the East German chemical industry.

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